Category Archives: Nutrition

Commissioner’s Update – May 21, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

On Monday May 18 the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a work session on LD 695 “An Act To Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments.” The end result was that 11 of the 13 committee members voted not to force local school districts to inform parents of their right to opt-out of statewide assessment. Two of the eleven voted to pass a version of the bill without that requirement. The bill now goes to the Maine House and Senate.

Discussion of the bill included a lot of information regarding the legal aspects of this potential action. This included legal opinions from attorneys with both the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis.

Both attorneys advised the committee that parents and students have a right to not take the standardized statewide assessment. No one is going to force a child to sit and take the test. They do not, however, have a right to be shielded from the consequences of that act which could range from action by the school district or loss of federal funding for the school. Local school districts in Maine have the authority under state law to place requirements on students and not award a diploma if the student does not meet these requirements. This could include things such as community service, a senior year graduation exam, or participation in statewide or local assessments.

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Annual MLTI student technology conference brings 1000+ to UMaine Thursday

Over 1,000 students and educators will bring their Maine Department of Education provided digital devices to UMaine on Thursday for a one-day conference. | More

Maine DOE announces teacher leadership summit

The Maine DOE is promoting the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) summit at Colby College in Waterville on August 6-7. | More

Hiring standards for school nutrition program directors take effect July 1

Beginning July 1 school nutrition program directors will be required to meet new hiring standards as a result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent ruling establishing national professional standards for all school nutrition employees. | More

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Hiring standards for school nutrition program directors take effect July 1

Beginning July 1 school nutrition program directors will be required to meet new hiring standards as a result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent ruling establishing national professional standards for all school nutrition employees.

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Maine School Nutrition Association dishes out top director, manager awards

The Maine School Nutrition Association (MSNA) has honored RSU 13 Director of School Nutrition Charles Butler as Director of the Year and Portland Public Schools Nutrition Manager Nancy McAdam as Manager of the Year.

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Commissioner’s Update – April 9, 2015

From the Maine Department of Education

AUGUSTA – Maine’s high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high, as has the percentage of students who are either economically disadvantaged or have a disability and are earning their diploma in four years.

According to newly released data from the Maine Department of Education, 86.48 percent of the students who entered the ninth grade in the fall of 2010 graduated on time in 2014. That’s up just slightly from 86.36 percent in 2013 and well above the 80.3 percent graduation rate reached in 2009-2010 when the current calculation method was introduced.

In announcing the rising rate, Maine’s Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin said he is especially encouraged to see the state make such progress in narrowing achievement gaps though he urged more work must be done.

“All children can learn and deserve equal opportunity to do so in our schools,” Desjardin said. “I want to thank Maine’s educators for their hard work in supporting an increasing number of historically academically disadvantaged students find success. Moving forward, we must continue to improve both our graduation rate and the value of the diplomas awarded by our schools so that every student leaves with the foundation they need to achieve their full potential.”

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Maine student artwork selected for MLTI screensavers

Twenty-one student artists will have an audience of more than 70,000 students and educators for their artwork starting this fall. | More

Maine DOE releases online public preschool application

The Maine DOE has created a new online application form that will make it easier for districts to apply for State approval of new or expanding public preschool programs. | More

Maine DOE seeks surrogate parents to support students with disabilities

The Maine DOE is seeking volunteers to serve as surrogate parents for children with disabilities in educational matters. | More

Maine DOE helps expand internet access in rural Washington County

Maine DOE’s Learning Through Technology Team was in Washington County last week to lend its support for the “Check-out the Internet” event at Cherryfield Free Public Library. | More

Department offers webinars in advance of ELL assessment

The Maine DOE is providing two webinars this spring to assist schools as they prepare for the 2015-16 administration of the computer-based English language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. | More

Migrant Education Program’s Blueberry Harvest School wins state environmental award

The Blueberry Harvest School has been named the winner of the Maine Environmental Education Association Excellence in Environmental Education Program Award. | More

Maine team drives away champions of national bus roadeo

Lisa Gadway and Gregg McGoff from the Fairfield-based MSAD 49 recently earned first place for their performance in the 18th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo. | More

April 13 webinar overviews federal student privacy laws

The Maine DOE is encouraging district staff to review the Privacy Technical Assistance Center’s latest guidance document: Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service during a webinar on Monday, April 13. | More

Maine DOE provides nutrition equipment assistance

The Department is encouraging schools to apply for their share of the $75,542 that Maine has been awarded in food service equipment assistance. | More

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Maine DOE provides nutrition equipment assistance

The Department is encouraging schools to apply for their share of the $75,542 that Maine has been awarded in food service equipment assistance.

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Applications open for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Applications are now being accepted to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in the 2015-16 school year.

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Professional standards released for food service staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a final rule establishing national professional standards for all school nutrition employees who manage and operate the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

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Department hosts Summer Food Service Program trainings

In preparation for the fast approaching summer season, the Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition Services Team will offer Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) trainings through the state in the coming months.

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Commissioner’s Update – December 18, 2014

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE has contracted one of the state’s foremost learning technology leaders to help schools as they prepare to administer Maine’s first-ever statewide online assessment this spring.

Andy Wallace will work with the Department to develop technology related resources and provide support to schools to ensure they are ready to successfully administer the Maine Educational Assessment for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

Wallace is currently the technology director for the South Portland School Department and will continue in that role while also working with the Department on a seven month contract. He brings more than 14 years of experience as a technology director in both rural and urban school districts to the Department assignment, and was recently named the 2014 Administrator of the Year by the Maine Association of School Librarians.

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Please note: This is the final issue of the Commissioner’s Update for 2014 as State Offices will be closed for holidays on Thursday, Dec. 25 and Thursday, Jan. 1. All of us at the Maine DOE send warm wishes to you and your school communities for a happy holiday season and we look forward to continuing to serve you in 2015. Please expect to receive the December Maine DOE Monthly on Tuesday, Dec. 30 and the next weekly Commissioner’s Update on Thursday, Jan. 8.


Notices and Reporting

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Maine DOE releases scheduling guidance for new State assessment

To support district and school testing coordinators in their planning for the spring 2015 administration of the Maine Educational Assessment in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy, the Maine DOE has posted scheduling guidelines on the assessment section of its website. | More

Clarification of public preschool program requirements

The Maine DOE has received many inquiries from school district personnel seeking clarification on the public preschool legislation passed last spring. | More

Maine DOE provides resources to help schools keep students safe

In light of several high profile incidents in Maine involving threats to schools, the Department is reminding districts of the many resources it has already available to support schools in their ongoing efforts to keep students safe. | More

Maine joins New England states to create common system for reporting on educational performance

A consortium of states including Maine has released two years of reports created under a first of its kind regional common data project. | More

Certification of superintendent election or reelection

The Maine DOE is reminding administrators and school board members of the approaching deadline for annual certification of employment of Superintendent of Schools. | More

Maine students put STEM skills to the test at FIRST LEGO League Championship

Hundreds of Maine students from Kittery to Frenchville came together last weekend to compete at the 15th Annual FIRST LEGO League Championship, run by Maine Robotics and held at the Augusta Civic Center. | More

Annual gifted and talented program applications past due

The Department is reminding school district administrators that their 2014-15 annual applications for gifted and talented program approval were due on Dec. 5. | More

Department encourages early summer food program planning

The Maine DOE is encouraging districts to begin planning now for their Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). | More

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Department encourages early summer food program planning

The Maine DOE is encouraging districts to begin planning now for their Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Under Maine law, a school administrative unit (SAU) must offer meals through the SFSP if it has 50 percent or more of its students qualifying for free and reduced school meals and it operates a summer education or recreation program.

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